Last weekend there was a collective sense of glee in the Twin Cities as we got our first taste of nice weather after months of seemingly endless winter. We were all mischievous little bears borrowing hats with a shout, metaphorically speaking. Of course, I always think life is like a picture book, and in this case, it’s like Red Hat by Lita Judge, in which there are no words–only sounds–to tell the story of some animals having a lot of fun at the end of winter.
We were right there with them. No hat stealing that I saw, but the sounds of spring were in the air. The park near our building was packed with families playing, grilling, smiling. It felt like we lived at the park all weekend, and it was glorious.
This week has been decidedly less glorious outside, and the general glee has dulled as we debate whether we need winter boots and coats now or if spring jackets will do. As we faced a snowy forecast on Wednesday, I tried to avoid complaining, but even my bright-side nature can only go so far against snow in May.
In the end, the snow missed us to dump record-breaking amounts to the south and east of here. I stuck with my sneakers and spring jacket with only a slight sense of regret as I waited for my bus at 7 a.m. with a sharp wind chilling the air. A winter coat might have been a warmer choice this morning, but I very happy to be leaving my boots in the closet. Not exactly a “Roweeeee!” kind of happy, but I’ll take what I can get.
We just need a little more patience, and the cold, rainy, brown will turn to green, wonderful spring. Actually that reminds me of another picture book: And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. It’s a quieter book than Red Hat. It’s more about the waiting, but the spring, when it finally arrives, is no less wonderful.
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“Is it still spring?” Ladybug asked as we bundled up in sweatshirts yeaterday. I tried to explain that spring is an in-between season that is sometimes warm and sometimes cold, but I’m not sure she believed me. Nonetheless, we have spent the past week or so celebrating spring in as many ways as we could find. It has been a long and snowy winter in Minnesota, and I am ready to celebrate that we are so much closer to the Minnesota summers I love so much.
As usual, we began our family celebration in books. Ladybug liked Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson. We have read several Mouse books now, and she likes the familiar character. The books are simple and colorful–perfect for preschoolers. I liked Mama, Is It Summer Yet by Nikki McClure for the unique illustrations. I also appreciated the long list of activities in It’s Spring by Linda Glaser. We’ve used these books to watch for signs of spring as we walk around our neighborhoods. It’s great to see Ladybug get excited about flowers blooming or at the sight of a robin.
We also joined in a family Easter Egg hunt with Ladybug’s cousins searching for colored eggs (some plastic with candy inside, some hard-boiled, decorated), which was fun. The kids got to gorge on candy, and the adults got to enjoy one another’s company. Just as we didn’t do Santa (See this post for more about that), we aren’t doing the Easter Bunny either. I explained to Ladybug that everyone was going to pretend that the Easter Bunny hid the eggs, and it would be fun to pretend. I’ve said before, we love pretending with her, but I’m not willing to pretend to her. We focus our sense of wonder for Easter on nature. The “magic” there isn’t going to go away.
We also attempted to color eggs for the first time. It was kind of a bust. They all look pink, but they were supposed to pink, purple, yellow, and blue. We’ll try again next year. Sorry, kid. Your mom’s a noob.
My favorite way to celebrate spring, though, is at the May Day Festival in Powderhorn Park. I just discovered this long-running festival last year, and I fell in love. It’s a celebration of art and peace in addition to the stories that have symbolized spring for so many years. The parade is a theatrical performance more than just a parade. We saw beauty and hope amidst pointed statements about our world all in the context of reflection as we move ahead. Yes, it was cold this year. But it was worth it to be one of so many coming together to celebrate so much.
Happy spring everyone! Let’s make the most of it.